California’s historic gold rush era town of Greenville completely buckled Wednesday during the third week of the Dixie Fire. According to the Daily Mail, Dixie is the second-largest wildfire ravaging the west and the sixth-largest in state history. According to fire spokesman Mitch Matlow, brush in the area is so dry that ‘if an ember lands, you’re virtually guaranteed to start a new fire.”
Historic gold rush town Greenville is razed to the ground in California blaze https://t.co/xWyAUGawS1— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) August 6, 2021
The article said that the town of Greenville lost about 100 homes. In addition, Greenville lost a gas station, a church, a hotel, and a museum and bar. What made the loss most saddening is some of the buildings in historic Greenville were more than 100 years old. However, it also made them incredibly susceptible to the fire as their construction consists almost entirely of wood.
According to Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Gross, the fire “burnt down our entire downtown. Our historical buildings, families’ homes, small businesses, and our children’s schools are completely lost.”
Other officials concluded that the town lost well over 100 homes to the deadly fire.
While the historic town is a loss for sure, more heartbreaking is that many could only watch their homes burn. Because of the dry vegetation and reports of 40-mile-per-hour wind gusts, the town quickly succumbed to the flames.
Residents Are Losing Literally Everything to the California Fires
While California homes perish in the rapidly growing wildfires, individuals have also lost items of great importance to them. One resident, artist and writer Elysia Garcia, watched a video of her Greenville office as it went up in flames. She had apparently kept every journal she’d written since the second grade there. She also lost a hand-edited novel that sat on top of her grandfather’s old desk.
“We’re in shock,” she said, however, “It’s not that we didn’t think this could happen to us.”
Another Greenville resident, Ken Donnell had left Wednesday just to run out for items a few towns away. However, as he tried to return, he was unable to go home. The Dixie Fire had already engulfed the town.
Despite their best efforts, California firefighters were only able to save about a quarter of Greenville’s structures. Crews are becoming disheartened as winds consistently change directions and force the California fires in different directions. Fire crews typically set up firelines for wildfires. These involve manually removing flammable objects and digging trenches to create fire barriers. However, those deployed to fight the fires simply cannot move quickly enough.
“We did everything we could,” Matlow said, and “sometimes, it’s just not enough.”
Meanwhile, fire crews located at momentarily-contained areas sprang back into action as Thursday winds saw multiple changes in direction. The winds threatened controlled areas with a second ignition. The National Interagency Fire Center said that more than 20 thousand fire crews have been deployed to fight the 97 wildfires engulfing the region. They also said the west is currently experiencing 97 different fires across 13 U.S. states.